The UNB Art Centre celebrates Black History Month with a special project that brings portraits of Black New Brunswickers to the streets of Fredericton. In partnership with the UNB’s Bi-Campus Standing Committee on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Human Rights and the City of Fredericton, banners featuring Black New Brunswickers will be displayed on Queen Street throughout the month of February. This project recognizes the achievements and experiences of Black New Brunswickers and their significant contribution to shaping contemporary New Brunswick.
As part of this year’s celebration, we are listening to the voices of young black artists from the New Brunswick Black Artists Alliance in the UNB Art Centre’s online galleries. Poets Chevelle Malcolm, Thandiwe McCarthy and Emmanuelle Jackson will perform works written by themselves as well as other black writers.
This online exhibition also features Dr. Mary McCarthy reading and discussing the letter written by Mary Matilda Winslow to her classmates in 1954 for their 50th class reunion. Mary Matilda Winslow was the first black woman to graduate from UNB in 1905 and her letter chronicles her experience of racism as a black educator.
Dr. Mary McCarthy is well known activist, writer, and educator who has worked tirelessly to restore and uncover New Brunswick’s Black histories and honour the community’s ancestors. Her research is focused primarily on forgotten and segregated graveyards across New Brunswick. In addition to her scholarship, McCarthy also served as the president of the New Brunswick Black History Society for six years. In 2015, McCarthy won a human rights case against Shoppers Drug Mart for an incident of racial profiling that occurred in 2011. McCarthy’s work is featured in the 2019 collection, Black Writers Matter, edited by Whitney French with a foreword by Afua Cooper. McCarthy holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from York University, two Master’s degrees from the University of New Brunswick, and is currently completing her Ph.D. in the department of Social Justice at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. When asked why she is so dedicated to preserving the histories of Black New Brunswickers, McCarthy stated, “I want my ancestors to be revered and respected. I have to tell their stories.”
As well, throughout the month of February, the University of New Brunswick will present a number of informative films, lectures and events to highlight the historical and contemporary presence of Black Canadians in New Brunswick. More information about these events can be found at www.unb.ca.
The UNB Art Centre galleries at Memorial Hall on the UNB campus are currently closed for renovation until March 2021. Please follow our exhibits and programs on-line.